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By Margaret Gilbert

Margaret Gilbert bargains an incisive new method of a vintage challenge of political philosophy: whilst and why should still I do what the legislations tells me to do? Do i've got targeted tasks to comply to the legislation of my very own kingdom and if that is so, why? In what experience, if any, needs to I struggle in wars during which my nation is engaged, if ordered to take action, or endure the penalty for legislation breaking--including the dying penalty? Gilbert's available ebook bargains a provocative and compelling case in prefer of electorate' duties to the country, whereas interpreting how those might be squared with self-interest and different competing issues.

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Extra resources for A Theory of Political Obligation: Membership, Commitment, and the Bonds of Society

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This reflects central and relatively indisputable aspects of the prevailing broad use of the term ‘obligation’. It may, indeed, say the most that can be said without moving to a characterization of specific, differing types of obligation. Caution is particularly in order with respect to certain aspects of Hart’s and others’ more restrictive conceptions. 37 For reasons given earlier I prefer not to qualify the obligation at issue in the membership problem in this way. Again, though Hart specifically says that obligations may be ‘voluntarily incurred or created’, some later writers suppose that obligations, in the proper narrow sense, must be voluntarily incurred.

23 The type of obligation in question has certain quite striking features that were emphasized by the distinguished philosopher of law H. L. A. Hart in a well-known article. Hart proposed, in fact, that the term ‘obligation’ should be reserved for something with the features in question, contrary to the usage he observed among philosophers. 24 Later Hart amplifies point (3), referring to ‘special transactions between individuals . . 25 There is much that could be discussed in relation to the details of the quoted characterization of obligations, which is given in a footnote.

I list them as features of obligations simpliciter. I should be understood to be referring only to obligations of the general kind with which I am concerned here. In the discussion that follows I make use of some key terms I shall not attempt fully to explicate. I have in mind in particular rationality, and what rationality or reason requires. I take myself to be operating with an intuitive notion that relates to considerations of a variety of kinds. The breadth of this conception will emerge as the discussion progresses.

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